NFL reviewing Jadeveon Clowney hit on Carson Wentz

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The news, although it really isn’t news, is that the NFL is reviewing for potential discipline the hit applied by Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. The news that will be news is what the NFL does about it.

Setting aside questions of “clean” and “dirty,” the reality is this: Clowney lowered his helmet and initiated contact against an opponent with it. That’s a clear violation of the rule that the NFL passed in 2018, applied aggressively in the 2018 preseason, ignored for the most part in the 2018 regular season and postseason, and dusted off for the 2019 season.

The move should have drawn a flag. Whether it provokes a fine may depend on whether the league is willing to implicitly admit that the flag should have been thrown.

After the game, referee Shawn Smith explained that no penalty was called because Wentz “was a runner, and he did not give himself up.” Smith added that the crew “saw incidental helmet contact, and in our judgment, we didn’t rule that to be a foul.”

It wasn’t incidental. It felt like a reaction to the fact that quarterbacks who run often don’t suffer the same fate as running backs, given that defensive players are now programmed to pull up when the opportunity to blast a quarterback arises. Smart coaches (like Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll, for example) surely are telling their players that when a quarterback runs he’s fair game for a big hit. And some defenders, like Clowney, may be overcompensating for the undercompensation by other defensive players.

Really, would Clowney have hit a running back that way, putting his head down and coming in hot? It felt like, as Simms acknowledged earlier this week on PFT Live, an effort to make Wentz pay for the decision to run.

Again, “clean” or “dirty” doesn’t matter. (That said, if someone like Vontaze Burfict had done it, the prevailing cry would have been, “Filthy!”) What matters is that the move violated the rules, it should have been flagged, and it should be fined.

72 responses to “NFL reviewing Jadeveon Clowney hit on Carson Wentz

  1. Clean hit. Shoulder pad struck the middle of the back before the helmet bumped the other helmet. Its football people. If anything, wWntz nose diving into the turf did it to himself. Either way, it wasnt a rough hit, Wentz is soft. Slide next time. He is an average QB so Philly wouldnt have won with him anyway.

  2. Suspension for as long as the injured player is out….. which means the rest of the year….. which means 1 game for the Seahawks.

  3. Seems to me that short of putting QBs in different-colored shirts and treating real games like practices where they’re strictly off limits from contact that the rules have went about as far as they can go. Take off running and you are no longer a QB but are a runner. If you don’t want to take hits they STILL have the slide rule to protect you. If you decide to not slide then you’re going to take the chance of getting hurt.

  4. A hit with the crown of the helmet is a penalty period. Buy a hit with the crown of your helmet to the back of someone’s head is crazy. Bang bang my rear end. He had time to ease up. Suspend him for the rest of the postseason.

  5. IMO it looked like he lead with his shoulder and the helmets happened to hit. Will probably get fined, but doesn’t seem like he was intentionally targeting Wentz’s helmet with his.

  6. That just looked like football to me… If Wentz had slid feet first, different story, but he didn’t, so it’s just a regular, run of the mill football play.

  7. I’ve seen worse hits that weren’t flagged and/or fined. Now if this had been a hit on Aarogant Rodgers, it would’ve drawn the flag, and he would’ve been screaming for it to the refs.

  8. Conflicted on this….football is a rough sport. Yes Clowney went down to finish off the tackle, but the real issue is Wentz just doesnt get it. He won’t SLIDE or just throw the ball away to live another day. He also has proven, like it or not, that he IS injury prone. In alot of ways he’s like Jim Plunkett in his early years with the the New England Patriots. It was’nt until he was older and wiser that he finally learned how to protect himself….by that time he was with the Oakland Raiders & really played great.

  9. HagemeisterPark says:
    January 8, 2020 at 11:01 am
    Clean hit. Shoulder pad struck the middle of the back
    |||||||||||||||||||||||

    That’s not the issue. Clowney lowered the crown of his helmet and that is a foul.

  10. Wentz is soft? I love it when these keyboard jockeys opine on the toughness of NFL players. I’d like you to take the hit that Wentz did, attempt to get up afterwards, and then tell Wentz how ‘soft’ he is. Clowney’s head went down. Period. Should he be fined? Yes. Suspended? NO.

  11. Absolutely no horse in this race, but it doesn’t take a genius to see that he didn’t need to lower the helmet to complete the hit. And that’s assuming the hit in general was necessary.

  12. maalea says:

    That’s not the issue. Clowney lowered the crown of his helmet and that is a foul.
    ————————–
    Bogus. Even if Clowney didnt hit Wentz, he would have concussed himself with that faceplant into the turf. The only reason it looked bad is because Wentz head got stuck between the turf and Clowney. Open air – minus the turf, the hit would not have bothered Wentz.

  13. I’ll tell you what it felt like, more of the same NFL ineptitude that we’ve been accustomed to over the past 15 years.

  14. Defensive players are trying to avoid head area (mostly). When guys start diving, sliding, or as in this case, are tripped up just before contact, things simply can’t be helped. This issue was the ground, not the contact.

  15. HagemeisterPark says:
    January 8, 2020 at 11:01 am
    Clean hit. Shoulder pad struck the middle of the back
    |||||||||||||||||||||||

    That’s not the issue. Clowney lowered the crown of his helmet and that is a foul.

    ||||||||

    Wrong shoulder led

  16. Setting aside questions of “clean” and “dirty,” the reality is this: Clowney lowered his helmet and initiated contact against an opponent with it
    —–
    When you are going down head first at a 45 degree angle, it’s physically impossible to not have your head leading the way. You have to forget the speed of the game and watch it in super slow motion, frame by frame to get the crazy notion into your head that this was a choice and planned. The ONLY reason this is an issue is it’s a QB. Nobody would have blinked had this been a RB, TE or WR. Fine and punish physics if you must.

  17. Seahawks are coached to tackle opponents specifically in the kidneys/back as often as possible. Watch the game tape. it’s not dirty if they don’t call it!

    PS: The 15 yards wouldn’t have made a difference in the outcome since Wentz was already hurt and they had a lousy backup (23-53 record).

  18. I’m no Eagles fan but it looked very dirty to me and I said so here – glad they’re reviewing it. Not only that but it was so overly deliberate trying to hit a guy’s head going down I wouldn’t be surprised if it was done as 1st order of Hawks’ business to try take Wentz out of the game.

  19. Clean or dirty does matter. I have to disagree with others, the tape don’t lie. He aimed his helmet at Carson’s head. The fact that he is a QB means nothing. If he had done that to Miles Sanders it should have been a Penalty and a fine. You want this league to survive? You can’t have dirty players using their helmet as a weapon…….period. That is an undeniable truth.

  20. Dirty or not, these hits happen in the NFL and Carson continues to make the boneheaded decision of exposing himself. We saw Russell Wilson sliding all game in order to keep himself available to his team, but Carson refuses, absolutely refuses to learn.

  21. Overly aggressive and should have been a penalty, but not dirty. Fine him 40 grand and it’s done.

    Now let’s get to the Packers and Seahawks game at Lambeau.👏

  22. If you watch the play in real time, there is nothing dirty about the hit. The refs explanation makes perfect sense that the helmet to helmet contact was inadvertent and not sufficient enough to necessitate a flag. If QB slides its no contest but the fact that he was diving to gain extra yards gives the defender every right to defend the field and minimize the gain. Stop being soft.

  23. Given how trigger happy the NFL is in giving out penalties, this is obvious to have crossed that threshold.
    I’d give a fine for sure, and if it was up to me, a 1 game suspension because the player was injured.

  24. The NFL would never do this, but if a player incurs a flagrant foul like Clowney, and the player who was hit is knocked out of the game (concussion or other injury), the team that caused the injury should be forced to lose not the player that caused the injury, but the player on their team of the same position. So, in Clowney’s instance, once Wentz was ruled out…Russell Wilson would have to depart the game as well. Of course they would never do this, but and eye-for-an-eye policy would be the fairest way to punish the offending team.

  25. Maybe the next time these 2 teams play, the refs can retroactively throw a 15 yard penalty against the ‘Hawks defense on the Eagles first series.

  26. Carson Wentz was a target of opportunity and he would have taken the penalty even if there was one. But the cheap/dirty hit accomplished his goal. Get Wentz out of the game. With him gone the game was essentially over and that stunk the way he did him. Karma will come knocking for him.

  27. Not a fan of either team. So, my unbiased view is that clearly Clowney lowered his helmet to target Wentz’s head. That’s about as dirty as it gets.

    It is irrelevant whether Wentz was a QB or not. No matter who the runner is, the penalty for what Clowney did is in effect.

    This isn’t Clowney’s first cheap shot in the NFL. He should be fined and suspended one game. If the NFL is serious about reducing head trauma, they have to man up.

  28. Clowney is falling to the ground. Can you control where and how you fall in real time? No one can.

  29. After all the ways these guys are “taught how to tackle” how the heck was he supposed to lead. He obviously made an effort to lead with his shoulder. If you are trying to lead with the shoulder that low and keep your head up, you’re at risk of a neck injury if someone comes in and hits your already awkwardly positioned head and neck. I get that it needs looked at but I am pretty sure we saw everything on replay.

  30. Please, look up contrecoup injuries before weighing in on Wentz. His supposed fragility is not in play here. The combination of Clowney’s helmet, hitting the frozen turf, and most of all the timing and rhythm of the two hits likely resulted in the kind of massive concussion that even in the old days of “bell rung” would have left him unable to continue.

    Clowney should probably be fined if for no other reason than the league wants to avoid even incidental helmet-to-helmet contact. It was a hard hit, but defensive players are taught to get a guy on the ground _now_ to arrest forward progress. I think “dirty” is in the eye of the beholder, but little in Clowney’s history suggests this was intentional.

    And Carson, when you come back next year, please learn to slide. Feet first. Even the biggest lummox DH or first baseman can execute a decent feet-first slide. It’s not hard to learn, even if you never played baseball. Because as long as you’re fighting for yardage, you’re fair game (though still, not for a helmet hit).

  31. There will be no fine or suspension.

    Now that’s not because there shouldn’t be, that was helmet to helmet!

    Nothing will happen because a NFL doctor pulled Wentz! (didn’t even check Clowney)

    Now explain to me how 2 players who take the same hit get treated that different?

    But hey the NFL takes player safety so seriously they do nothing!

  32. My favorite are the dopes that blame Wentz for Clowney hitting him dirty because he dove forward. It was a dirty hit. Look at his teammate trying to stop him from hitting Wentz. If Clowney had done that to Tom Brady, the NFL would have called down to have Clowney ejected and would have suspended him a year or more.

  33. Whether the hit was in a QB that ‘gives himself up’ or not is irrelevant…Clowney dove at a player on the ground and led with his helmet. That’s a dirty play against anyone…he should be suspended for the next game if the NFL is interested in cleaning up the game.

  34. mogogo1 says:
    January 8, 2020 at 11:04 am
    Seems to me that short of putting QBs in different-colored shirts and treating real games like practices where they’re strictly off limits from contact that the rules have went about as far as they can go. Take off running and you are no longer a QB but are a runner. If you don’t want to take hits they STILL have the slide rule to protect you. If you decide to not slide then you’re going to take the chance of getting hurt.

    39 60 Rate This
    Can a running back slide to give himself up ? Because if he can then I could see a lot more personal fouls and a lot more yards because of the defender being in a catch 22 and if a RB isn’t aloud to slide how come a qb becoming a running back can slide ? It’s complete bs … make it where once the qb scrambles past the line of scrimmage it’s down right there if they want to protect the QB.

  35. As good as Carson has been the past 4 games and the Hawks barely beat the Eagles with less players several weeks. The Clown knew they had to take Wentz out (like he did Foles 1 yr ago). He knew w/o Wentz they would win. So ya, the tape doesn’t lie. It was deliberate, and dirty! A fine? No, because it cost the Birds a playoff game. More like a suspension…rest of the yr which really is only one more game

  36. joetoronto says:
    January 8, 2020 at 11:06 am
    Definitely unnecessary and borderline attempt to injure.

    =======================

    This is simply a wildly over the top take. No reaction from the crowd or broadcast crew regarding his injury until they found out he was leaving the field, then the replay is shown (in ONLY slow-mo of course for drama) over and over again and everyone is suddenly outraged.

    And all over a guy with no rep as an even borderline dirty player.

    It’s terrible that Wentz got injured, but suspensions aren’t handed out for plays that aren’t even deemed penalties. It just doesn’t happen.

  37. Agree it wasn’t necessary, but I don’t see it as a dirty play. I think Clowney wanted to finish him off, but don’t think there was intent to go head to head. Slo-mo doesn’t always convey what happened when it comes to NFL plays – where bodies are moving incredibly fast in real time.

    When I re-watched that part of the game, it was a blip of a play, completely unremarkable, because the truth is, as hits go, Clowney didn’t really tag him. It’s of course a terrible result for the Eagles because of the injury – I get that – and I get the anger at Clowney because of that result. Should have been a flag, but IMO, that’s all it should have been.

  38. It was bang-bang *and* dirty. It was a quick instinctive move, but he wasn’t looking to tackle anyone, or touch a down player. He launched himself downward.

    Hopefully he’ll err on the side of less dangerous play after this.

  39. With the current rules a QB can dive forward and if hit by a tacklers helmet or shoulder, there will be a flag because he gave himself up. This is the same for any position. Judgement comes in if the defensive player has committed to a tackle before the player dives. On a slide once a QB commits to the slide they cannot be hit, and it’s why the ball is down at the start of the slide not the completion. A dive the ball is downed at the end of the dive or where he’s touched.

  40. So, in Clowney’s instance, once Wentz was ruled out…Russell Wilson would have to depart the game as well. Of course they would never do this, but and eye-for-an-eye policy would be the fairest way to punish the offending team.
    ————————————————————————————————-

    Submit this to the XFL and it can be tested out…I like the idea.

  41. It’s SO FUNNY. When a certain “style” of QB plays the game, it’s always “he’ll never last. He’s gonna take too many hits.” And when another “style” of QB takes off and gets a shot people act like it’s a friggin war crime. “He wanted to injure him!!!!” Double standard. What game are we watching here, guys?

  42. It was pretty bang-bang. but It was a dirty and unnecessary. Fine but no suspension, it was unfortunate but lets move on.

  43. jonathankrobinson424 says:
    January 8, 2020 at 11:14 am
    Yes Clowney went down to finish off the tackle, but the real issue is Wentz just doesnt get it. He won’t SLIDE or just throw the ball away to live another day.

    49 61 Rate This
    ———————-

    The rules changed this year. A dive is the same as a slide. You’re down where you initiate the dive and its considered giving yourself up. So yeah, slide vs dive makes no difference. Clowney hit him AFTER he gave himself up.

  44. I’m a raiders fan so no dog at all in this fight. But clowney is also diving into wentz while wentz is already 90% down. He decided to spear into him while visibly seeing wentz was already mostly down. It wasn’t like he was coming out of a tackle and coulda continued the play…

  45. Dirty or not—it was a game changer much like the Malcolm Jennings(Eagle) hit on Brandon Cooks in the superbowl. Guess it all comes out in the wash.

  46. He chose to be a running back, diving forward…Clowney was in a bang bang situation where guys always give shots when a possible fumble is still possible. It’s a know fact that a shoulder to the back very well can cause a fumble, and it’s hard to hit a running back at that angle with your shoulder with out the helmet being in the picture. Running backs lower their helmets all the time and it’s just fine. Bottom line, Wentz screwed up by not giving himself up feet first.

  47. Appears someone (Rodgers) called the league office to try and have him suspended for a game. That’s absolutely something he’d do.

  48. What has to be reviewed you see he hits Wentz in the head with helmet and Wentz is already on the ground. Must be the same review process on NE for not calling out Brady injury or the taping of sidelines. Right in front of you and you need to review???

  49. All those who are giving Clowney a pass are fans of Seattle. The only good guy over there is Russell Wilson. He’s a good dude for asking how Wentz was doing when shaking hands with Pederson. Guys like Clowney have a way of doing themselves in years later. I have a feeling he too will end up in the Whatever Happened To?

  50. If Russell Wilson had taken a cheap shot like that Pete Carroll would have had a conniption, called a timeout so he could berate the referees and get the sympathy of the league to eject the defender.

    I’ve watched games where Aaron Rodgers runs and then goes down and a defender just nicks him and they throw 3 flags. Where the heck was the flag here with the hit on Wentz!?

    That was a dirty hit, he aimed his helmet at the head of Wentz when he was facing away and going to the ground. NFL heeds to suspend Clowney for the next game to punish him properly.

  51. Clowney is a dirty player and should be suspended for that obvious late and malicious hit to the helmet.

  52. So now the NFL allows players to hit QBs when they’re backs are turned and going to the ground. Sounds counter to all their concussion changes due to lawsuits.

  53. Excuse me but the comment about trying to stop Wentz from gaining more yards makes no sense.He was hit from behind so he actually was potentially pushing him forward. As it was he buried him into the turf. May not have been intent to harm but seems just touching him down (as he was almost on the ground to begin with) would’ve been the more prudent play

  54. hexy27 says:
    January 9, 2020 at 1:52 pm
    Doug is a pretty good CEO coach but his staff got bad when Reich and Flip left.
    I am looking forward to the new hires and a change at DC and secondary coach would be welcome as well.
    *******
    Reich went 7-9 and defelipo Ran the jaguars into the ground and is in last place So both those guys are beyond horrible

  55. From the video Clowney deliberately speared Wentz in the back of the head.
    Clowney should have been ejected from the game and banned for the rest of the playoffs.
    This shows what a joke the NFL is in refusing to enforce its new rules to reduce head injuries.
    A deliberate head to head hit and the top brass at the NFL, like “goobers-for-brains” Goodell, say it’s just a bang-bang play.

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